Doug Saunders of the Globe and Mail provoked fresh astonishment this past weekend when he asserted that the Reagan military build-up of the 1980s actually prolonged Communism, rather than brought it down.This is what he wrote:
They were wrong the last time around. The Cold War Hawks have been interred in cold earth for decades because they were wrong about the Cold War itself….
In the 1980s, the hawks blew our chance to end the Cold War. When the USSR was about to collapse politically and economically, the hawks persuaded NATO to respond to Moscow’s gestures with military confrontation. The 1983 stationing of missiles along the Iron Curtain did nothing to reduce the size or scope of the Soviet empire, but forced Moscow to keep the charade going for years after it would have quit. We should have known: Decades of such hawkish threats had done nothing to prevent tanks from wheeling into capitals and democratic movements from being overthrown under Moscow’s orders in Hungary in 1956, Czechoslovakia in 1968, or Poland in 1981.
“Strength” didn’t end that conflict. It cemented it in place and rendered it irresolvable. What finally ended it was something that remains our best hope to end this one: strong economic sanctions, tough but constant dialogue and sensible exploitation of Moscow’s weakness.
Is this fantasy or mendacity? This interpretation is so wholly perverse it staggers me: not even wrong, I am tempted to say.
- The Soviet Union collapsed because it was economically wrecked.
- It was economically wrecked because its economy could not maintain the huge level of military expenditures it had ramped up from the 1960s forward.
- The Soviet Union was spending about 50% of state income on the military by the 1980s, and possibly much mor4e than that.
- The Reagan presidency (January 1981-January 1989), confronted the Soviet Union with a military build-up it could not match. Instances include: deployment of the Pershing nuclear missile in Europe, to match the Soviet Union’s SS20s, the expansion of the US Navy to 600 ships, the beefing up the military presence in Europe with new fighters, tanks and general improvement of morale, and finally, the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which threatened the USSR’s first strike capability with space-based weapons.
- This build-up was achieved essentially by a decision to raise US interest rates, which caused the world to put its money into US dollars, so that the US Government was able to afford the debt, cut inflation, and lowered Soviet commodity prices.
Essentially the US snapped its fingers and engaged in an arms race that drove the Soviet regime into despair and sped its impending collapse. The Soviets were placing new and expensive SS20s aimed at European cities in the late 1970s, during the Presidencies of Gerald Ford (1974-1977) and of Jimmy Carter (1977-1981). The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and the post-Soviet Russian regime signed the Treaty of Paris in 1990, formally renouncing Russia’s abandonment of the comity of nations which the Bolsheviks started in 1917, and settling World War 2 once and for all by reuniting the Germanies
So Doug, when did this arms build-up, arranged by Cold Warriors, delay the Soviet collapse? For what years – and be specific – was the Soviet Union propped up by the Cold Warriors?
Was the Soviet Union ready to crack under the pressure of President Jimmy Carter’s regime (1976-1980)? Hardly. The Russians invaded Afghanistan on Carter’s watch, and the Shah of Iran was overthrown when the Americans threw him to the wolves. As soon as Reagan came in, the Iranians announced the release of the American hostages that had been held since the fall of the Shah, another consequence of Jimmy Carter’s weakness. And all during Carter’s Presidency, the Soviet Union engaged in massive build up of its armed forces, particularly nuclear weapons.
So for what period of years was the Soviet Union kept propped up by Reagan’s anti-communism? If the Soviets were still placing SS20s in the early 1980s, and had cried uncle by 1989, by what period of years, Doug, did Reagan’s arms race prolong Russian Communism? To ask the question is to explode its ridiculous premise.
As to his point that “hawkishness” did not prevent the Soviet Union from repressing the Hungarians 1956), the Czechs (1968), the Poles (1981) – he forgets the bloody repression of the East Germans in 1947 – he completely inverts the causal relationship between Communism and anti-Communism.
“Hawkishness” was the Western reaction to Soviet repression. Anti-communism was a reaction to Stalin’s imposition of the Soviet regime in Eastern Europe, and his violation at every turn of the Yalta Accords. (See Ann Applebaum’s excellent book on how the Soviets crushed Eastern Europe from 1944-1956 ).
That Doug Saunders holds a significant position at a major Canadian newspaper is a disgrace to the Globe. If people were more historically informed, they would be embarrassed that such a turd passes smoothly out of the anus of Canada’s establishment newspaper.
Yet there is more. Saunders’ attempt to misconstrue the struggle against Communism is part of a gigantic and ongoing attempt of the Left to snatch away the West’s unequivocal victory against this demonic system.
After National Socialism was laid in its grave in 1945, two systems of political legitimacy confronted each other around the world: international socialism and parliamentary democracy. Our domestic left was very often blind and squishy on the subject of Communism. It professed greater concern for South African apartheid than for communist regimes, which exterminated hundreds of millions of people, and kept the rest enslaved.
Why? You will have to ask them. I do not know. But in the course of life I have noticed that the left-wing mind (mis-labelled the “liberal”) is not concerned with outcomes, only with self-congratulation for its noble intentions. The ongoing civil wars and massacres in Syria are of no concern, but Palestinian irredentism must be supported by disinvesting in Israel.
Why? My theory is that there is an implicit and never-consciously stated hierarchy of race, religion and class in the Left. It is as racist and elitist as anything they imagine conservatives think like. The hierarchy of moral concern goes like this. White is worse than brown is worse than black. Jewish is worse than Christian is worse than Islamic. Man bad, woman good, lesbian woman best. Zimbabwe can go to utter ruin but that’s okay, as long as that nasty old Ian Smith is not in charge. South-African protestant whites, suppressing blacks, that is the ultimate evil, except for – wait for it – Jews suppressing Muslims. Even worse!!
The Western Left was wrong about Communism as it is wrong about Islam, and for much the same reasons.
Both ideologies are conveniently anti-western, anti-white, anti-Christian, and anti-Jewish, and anti-conservative. So why attack then tool that works for you?
Doug Saunders is just the fresh smooth face of anti-westernism – anti-us-ism, as I like to call it, the voice of self-hatred, made safe for the Globe and Mail’s readership. A smooth turd indeed.